His priestly gestures, consecrating the broken eggs,
hands moving over the stove, slabs of meat
skittering in grease, drop biscuits big as a cat’s
head, threaded with cheese.
Him, making the fountain, making lantana, acanthus,
making bloom and ripple, song, making the birds.
My husband, the blue room, the bright room, best china,
best silver lifted from a box in the closet,
its red beds of best silver, put back later for later.
My husband who is not my husband who is still mine.
See him, crying in the Dublin airport—
he doesn’t want you to see. Can you see
the eucomis, its waxy leaves, its stalk blossoming
in the hot sun, pushing up among the marigolds?
Scars from this or that on shin or back, wrist or hand,
the way the garden loves him, the bees.
Him among the lilies, his hands lilies, his mouth
a twist of quince, his scent.
My husband among the lilies.
My husband, sauntering down the aisles. Him, sauntering
down the aisles at the flea market, dust settling
on everything, his small flashlight, his blue eyes,
his sound of geese, a train. Look,
something glitters and is gone. My husband, the gold
in the trees, falling, and him, a coverlet of mulch
across the beds, or asleep, the heat of him,
the hot water bottle of him, the cat purring at our feet.
My husband who is not my husband who is still mine.
The blue walls say so, the orchid deciding to bloom again.
Copyright © 2014 by Ed Madden. Used with the permission of the poet.
pitorro is what cows use at night to remember day.
god’s wine hangs from balconies to signal it’s safe.
tourists buy towels with parrots,
on their way to my town.
if they even pass through my town.
my town, which is my mother’s town.
we stop by añasco’s post office.
we have a task list.
i still have hair.
they recognize me as sotero’s granddaughter.
we climb up the stairs to a tobaccoed sofa
full of withered flowers as if this were maría.
they bring us coffee and soda crackers.
i listen to unrecognizable names,
and learn these are my blood.
i don’t speak this language,
but they lend me the words.
how is yoli? and school?
my first girlfriend is from a similar town.
we text each other in the bathroom.
i tell her i miss her.
she tells me they’re going to the church retreat.
when i come out, my body molds itself
to certain postural expectations.
morning's dimensions are tricky,
a word i acquired in california or nebraska.
it means my uncles enter and leave the house,
so i can't watch tv by myself.
múcaros divide the land amongst cousins.
they fly according to lines drawn in the treaty.
i go into town to buy eggs and on the way
i roll down the front seat window so the humidity
can enter with cold peach light.
i don’t understand what sort of memories i’m supposed to have.
one where i didn’t go with my boyfriend to the movies every friday,
where i didn’t waste my time looking at shoes or eating at el mesón?
maybe one where i didn’t lie to my family for years,
faking i was the good daughter,
or one where they don't tell me it’s okay,
as they step outside to water the plants.
my grandmother’s hand on my chin says qué linda.
with this accomplishment, the fossils rest and i rise.
but i wasn't asleep, nor good, nor a daughter.
las memorias de la hija buena
pitorro es lo que usan las vacas para recordar el día.
el vino de dios cuelga de los balcones para señalar que es seguro.
los turistas compran toallas con cotorras,
de camino a mi pueblo,
si es que pasan por mi pueblo.
mi pueblo no es sino el pueblo de mi madre.
vamos al correo de añasco.
existen las gestiones.
tengo pelo todavía.
me reconocen como la nieta de sotero.
subimos escaleras hasta un sofá atabacado
con patrón de flores marchitas
como si esto fuese maría.
sacan café y galletas de esporsoda.
escucho nombres irreconocibles.
aprendo que estos son mi sangre.
no hablo este idioma,
pero me prestan las palabras.
¿cómo está yoli? ¿y la escuela?
mi primera novia es de un pueblo similar.
nos texteamos en el baño.
le digo que la extraño.
me dice que van al retiro de la iglesia.
cuando salgo, mi cuerpo se amolda
a ciertas expectativas de la postura.
las dimensiones de la mañana son tricky,
una palabra adquirida en california o nebraska.
significa que entran y salen los tíos de la casa,
y no puedo sentarme a ver televisión sola.
los múcaros dividen el terreno entre los primos.
vuelan según las líneas trazadas por el acuerdo.
bajo a comprar huevos y de camino
bajo la ventana del asiento delantero
para que entre la humedad
con la luz de melocotón frío.
no entiendo bien qué clase de recuerdos se supone que tenga.
¿una donde no fui con mi novio cada viernes al cine,
donde no pasé tiempo mirando zapatos o comiendo en el mesón?
quizás una donde no le mentí a mi familia por años,
fingiendo que era la hija buena,
o una donde no me dicen que está bien,
mientras salen al patio a cuidar las matas.
la mano de mi abuela en mi mentón me dice qué linda.
con este logro, descansan los fósiles y despierto.
pero no dormía, ni era buena, ni era hija.
From x/ex/exis (poemas para la nación)(poems for the nation). Copyright © 2018 by Raquel Salas Rivera. Used with the permission of Bilingual Press.
once, while on a coke binge,
and away from my mother,
my father drove his car
across the sand
and into the pacific ocean.
before he had done that,
he had given away
all of his possessions,
a steak dinner.
he was able
to torture us
with his aristocratic ascetic drama
for years to come.
you can take a pisces
and all it will do
is challenge them
to cry more than the sky;
i say this with admiration.
how would it serve me
to make this up.
like my father,
i sometimes threaten
to succumb to wounds
and don the trappings
disguised as needs.
you may know them:
the sensible shoe;
the classical beauty;
the manicured hand
offered in neoliberal compromise.
i once told konrad
about how i successfully destroy
my attraction to strangers.
i imagine them standing above me,
as i lay prone
before them in their bed,
watching as they try
to get themselves
hard and or wet.
then i imagine
the hovering echo
of their mother,
the amount of humidity
in their bedroom,
if they put music on,
how their underwear
tucks in and around
around this time,
i’ve lost all
interest in them—
“that is so virgo of you,”
konrad said, admiringly.
“that is 1,000 percent virgo.”
virgo could be
my gender, or
it could be
virgo in narrative lust;
virgo in high fantasy;
virgo in unhappy ending.
i don’t know
what i like more:
the desire, or
the agonizing pleasure
i like girls, but
don’t seem to like me;
In That Way, at least.
i love women
i love men,
just as i love
all of g-d’s creatures;
but that doesn’t mean
that i want them,
or to be wanted by them.
hotly spayed virgin
in heat that i am,
i don’t think that
i have a gender,
but i can now
certainly have an orgasm.
on my way
to the slaughterhouse;
i wouldn’t say
that the struggle
masculine and feminine.
that i’m attached to,
i assure you.
i pluck the sinew,
and hold the cup
marked by my lipstick
up to the cloud’s mouth.
i acquire the fear
that i don’t hear
because i don't have
i would say
that the struggle
indecision and not caring.
like all good
poor people and aristocrats,
i know how to have a good time.
why i refuse to
is my own problem.
like all good
leftists of a certain region,
i have never read marx
or the bible.
i know the gossip
to kneel and resist.
i was content enough
to be a corpse eater
among the lotus eaters,
and then a lotus eater
among the petroleuses.
i’m a petroleuse
among the corpse eaters.
Copyright © 2020 by Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 15, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
Make me laugh over coffee, make it a double, make it frothy so it seethes in our delight. Make my cup overflow with your small happiness. I want to hoot and snort and cackle and chuckle. Let your laughter fill me like a bell. Let me listen to your ringing and singing as Billie Holiday croons above our heads. Sorry, the blues are nowhere to be found. Not tonight. Not here. No makeup. No tears. Only contours. Only curves. Each sip takes back a pound, each dry-roasted swirl takes our soul. Can I have a refill, just one more? Let the bitterness sink to the bottom of our lives. Let us take this joy to go.
From Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by January Gill O’Neil. Used with the permission of the author.